Saturday, December 12, 2009

On the Roof, Alwar District, Rajasthan, India, November 3, 2009

We arrive at the school and all the children are ready within fifteen minutes. The good people of Nirvanavan Foundation arrange them by gender and height, making it a little easier for the photography.

As always for this school, the sky is cloudy this morning. For some reason, this happens every time we visit. We decide to wait a few minutes, making some informal portraits. Then the sun decides to appear in between clouds and we make portraits, resting when the sun hides again.

The pink wall is still pink, like the most perfect backdrop. In color, it provides a most pleasant backdrop. In black and white, the value of the wall is high enough to provide a washed out background.

Against this background she stands, a student of the school and a member of the Kanjar Community, a community that trades in the world of commercial sex. Their women are sold by the men to local customers as well as faraway nationals. Their woman work locally and also work in the brothels of the larger Indian cities.

As a matter of fact, while her portrait is being made, the women below are making themselves ready for the day's customers. Of course, while we are present those customers are few and far in between.

Nirvanavan Foundation has a successful school in this village, on the roof of this building. It's small but effective, with a teacher that cares.

Can a school change this community? Many of the local villagers will say it's useless.

Then again, these are the same local villagers that treat them as below any caste yet use them for their sexual needs. It seems prudent to think otherwise and hope that education is the first step.

Her portrait as well as the portraits of others like her are for sale through my website, with the proceeds benefiting the school.

halimina.org
nirvanavan.org